In my last article, I covered some basics of LinkedIn networking and I had a really good response. So many people REALLY struggle with networking and I get it. To be honest, when my business partner and I attend a networking event together, she always tells me not to follow her around because she won’t talk to me. I hate that! First and foremost, as an introvert who covers it up well, I would rather have my teeth pulled than network with strangers. However, I find that once I get rolling, it really is no big deal. So, why do so many of us dread networking and how can we work around it? For most of us, if we think about it, we can start by realizing that we find out about jobs, gain clients or make money by knowing the right people. So, how do we meet those right people are? Your “right people” might be completely different than my “right people”. Identify who you need to meet. If you are in transition, you already know that you must have a list of your target companies. Find professional associations and universities in your area that host networking events. Talk to current and former co-workers; try a Chamber of Commerce event. There are many ways to get out there and start meeting the people who can help you move towards your goals. Now, you know where the right people are, why are we so uncomfortable with taking the next step and actually meeting them? For me, i'ts one if not all of the following:
- I don’t want to be rejected
- I don’t want to sound stupid
- I have nothing to say
- I sound very “salesy”
"My name is Susan and I am currently in a job transition. I met with your colleague on Tuesday and she suggested I connect with you. I was laid off from my previous employer, COMPANY X, at the end of January, so I am in the market for a job again. I am seeking out the following types of positions: "Director, Software Implementations, Senior Business Analyst, Director, Business Systems Implementations "At COMPANY X I managed the implementation of a proprietary membership management/scheduling/point of sale system for 21 sites and also played a lead role in their PeopleSoft Financials implementation. I would like to get back into this type of work."In my business, which is all about networking and teaching people the importance of networking, we call this the “show up and throw up” approach. I think that visual speaks for itself. If I am the recipient, a few things have most likely taken place. My eyes have glazed over and I am thinking about what I am going to have for dinner OR I have a plastic smile on my face and am searching for the nearest exit. Why is that? Because you are violating the Golden Rule of Networking!